SKINLESS – The Savagery Continues, More Confident Than Ever
July 3, 2018, a year ago
If New York brutal death metallers Skinless sound particularly like, well... Skinless on Savagery, their sixth album, listeners can thank the fact that instead of going for it full-time all the time, the band is actually taking it easy these days. Well, as much as any band who have put together songs as intense as the ones found on Savagery can be described as “taking it easy.”
“We have a good balance,” says vocalist Sherwood Webber, “where everybody in the band maintains huge excitement about the band, because when the rare opportunities come when we can play and record and do all that stuff it's actually really special for everybody. It's not a drudgery; it's something everybody really looks forward to. I think that's what feeds the beast.”
Webber says that because of this, the band has been playing some of the best shows they've ever played and been having the most fun that he can remember Skinless having.
“The band's always been fun,” he says, “but it just seems especially rewarding when we have a limited amount of time to make it awesome, and then that's what we do, we kinda push it to the max and then go back to our kids (laughs).”
Webber says that after 2015's Only The Ruthless Remain, their first album since 2006's Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead, the band played some shows and got to the place they're at now.
“I think we're much more relaxed and in the pocket and everybody is super comfortable; we're not trying to impress anybody new, you know? If new people are impressed, fantastic, and if not? No problem,” he says. “I think that's what lends to a real authentic Skinless sound, and I think that will continue. We have plans to do another record now, too. Everyone's really fired up now; it's for the fans of the band who have been with us forever and ever, and for us, and we're all kind of one and the same. That's what it's about. We're not trying to break any new ground, and that's totally awesome and I think that's what lends to that comfortable, in-the-pocket sound.”
But they're not getting too comfortable, and, in fact, the album features a couple of head-turners, two songs that work as quieter interludes, injecting some shades and hues into the band's sound.
“'Reversal Of Fortune' has an early Metallica feel, I think. 'The Hordes' has more of a Trouble, a little fuzzed out, a little classic sound,” says Webber. “But yeah, those are some nice segueways in the record, and then I really like breaking right into 'High Rate Extinction' right after [“The Hordes”].”
That's right, the Crowbar classic, “High Rate Extinction.” Skinless covers it here and does a great job tackling the sludge anthem.
“We've always been huge Crowbar fans, and I remember when Noah [Carpenter, guitars] and I first started hanging out, this was when tapes were still a thing. I was probably 16, maybe he was 19 or 20; we'd cruise around in his Camaro and go tape shopping and that was right around the time that record [Crowbar's 1992 self-titled album] came out. I remember we threw it in his car and we were jamming out to it. That was kind of a formative time in our friendship or whatever, and it's heavy, so it all made sense.”
When we talked with Webber, the band had recently come back from an east coast run of dates, which they put together themselves, with Ringworm, Churchburn, and Outer Heaven. Webber says that it's small, intense shows like these that mean the most to him.
“Every night, I mean, it just ruled for us, and everybody else. Every band is heavy in their own way. That's what's important to us: money is not, we could give a shit about playing festivals with Five Finger Death Punch or any of that bullshit, you know? Just having an awesome night in a shitty club with heavy bands is more than enough for us. Although, we take the opportunity to play some of those festivals, but I think our real heart and soul as a band is in clubs, you know? That's where we translate the best and that's where the energy seems to be. For me, that's a huge driver and inspiration, like, that weekend we just did: hanging out with those bands who we have so much respect for, and just listening to awesome music every night, having beers, just having the friendship and camaraderie with those bands, that's... I'm still, like, on fire about how fun that was, and I know they all are too. It's like, shit, I grew up listening to Ringworm, and having a real friendship with guys like that means the world to me.”
For now, the band will continue playing shows when and where they can, and Webber will continue spreading the good word of both his band and metal in general.
“I saw some dude in the ice cream shop the other day,” he says. “I always carry around Skinless pins in my pocket. I saw this dude just getting ice cream with his family, obviously a brutal metalhead, patches on the jacket, and I'm always up in everybody's face just wanting to talk about metal and make sure they have a Skinless pin on.”